NABOKV-L post 0026002, Tue, 10 Feb 2015 00:46:25 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] Dove-gray... idle thoughts and a sighting
[SIGHTING] VOYAGE AROUND MY LIBRARY #48: Vladimir Nabokov: A Tribute
[edited by Peter Quennell (New York: Morrow, 1980)]. 2/5/2015
<> "Here is their
young professor on Chekhov: 'Read and dream through Chekhov's bleak
landscapes,' Nabokov told them, 'which convey a dim loveliness and are like
gray clothes on a gray clothesline flapping against a gray sky'."
"Chekhov's world, he tells them, 'is dove-gray'." JM: Dove-gray seems to be
an important color in V.Nabokov's palette. One of the images I stored from
reading Grimm's tales as a young girl represented Cinderella sitting by the
fire amidst lentils and doves. Ashes, Ashette, Cinderella are important
references (mainly in ADA).

PS: I forgot to mention the emphasis on the number "three" (three young
girls, three episodes related to lentils, three royal festivities, a.s.o)
and the importance of the hazel-tree with a bird perched on it or its
protective magic powers, associated to the helpful pigeons and turtledoves.

Cf. "Father break off for me the first branch which knocks against your hat
on your way home. So he bought beautiful dresses, pearls and jewels for his
two step-daughters, and on his way home, as he was riding through a green
thicket, a hazel twig brushed against him and knocked off his hat. Then he
broke off the branch and took it with him. When he reached home he gave his
step-daughters the things which they had wished for, and to Cinderella he
gave the branch from the hazel-bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her
mother's grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears
fell down on it and watered it. And it grew and became a handsome tree.
Thrice a day Cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and prayed, and a
little white bird always came on the tree, and if Cinderella expressed a
wish, the bird threw down to her what she had wished for."
<> I also forgot
the gory cruel punishment to the malevolent two step-sisters, but then I'd
be straying too far from the Nabokov color palette and his description of
Chekhov's world.

ADA's Cinderella is connected to pumpkins and "vair/verre" shoes but these
elements are not present in the Grimm tales I'm familiar with. Grimm's
shoes, though, might have made an appearance in RLSK.*


*They were all about to start and very eager and all that, and Clare had
'phoned for a taxi and her new silver shoes glittered and she had found her
bag.[ ] The lovely tall prima donna steps in her haste into a puddle, and
her silver shoes are ruined. Cp with the two preceding night-ball slippers
(the lost slipper, worn by Cinderella on the third night, was golden) As no
one was now at home, Cinderella went to her mother's grave beneath the
hazel-tree, and cried - shiver and quiver, little tree, silver and gold
throw down over me. Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her,
and slippers embroidered with silk and silver.

In time (Clare Bishop and blue-grey): She was pretty in a quiet sort of way
with a pale faintly freckled complexion, slightly hollowed cheeks, blue-grey
near-sighted eyes, a thin mouth. She wore a grey tailor-made with a blue
scarf and a small three-cornered hat.[ ] .... I remember Sebastian's
receding raincoat and Clare's blue-grey figure.

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